Tuesday, August 23, 2016

California Supreme Court allows teacher tenure laws to stand

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Tenure laws that provide job security for 277,000 California schoolteachers were preserved Monday when a divided state Supreme Court rejected a challenge by opponents who said the laws shielded incompetent instructors and harmed low-income and minority students.

The 4-3 vote was a victory for teachers and their unions, who argued that tenure was essential to protect teachers from arbitrary and politically motivated firings and that there was no evidence the job-security laws have damaged public education in California.

“When teachers feel protected, they can stand up for their students,” said Eric Heins, president of the state’s largest teachers’ union, the California Teachers Association. “It’s a good day for students and for educators.”

Opponents said they would keep pressing for changes in the laws.

“Californians will continue to demand that the state address the massive and inexcusable inequality in access to quality teachers in our public schools,” said David Welch, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who funded the suit by nine students. He said the court case had cast “a much-needed spotlight on these shameful laws and the enormous harm they inflict on thousands of children every year.”

The court’s vote left intact an appellate ruling that upheld the tenure laws after a Los Angeles judge struck them down. In an unprecedented 2014 ruling, the judge found that teacher tenure and seniority rules violated students’ right to an equal education.

In a separate 4-3 vote Monday, the Supreme Court also refused to take up the issue of school funding in California, which ranks near the bottom of the states in educational spending and test scores.

Teachers’ groups and school district officials argued that state education spending was so low that it violated the California Constitution’s guarantee of a public education, and required the courts to step in, as courts in many other states have done. But the justices denied review of an appellate court decision that said the Constitution does not give students the right to an education of any particular level of quality or funding.
The foundation of government schools: special privilege for the suppliers. No word yet on this story from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who sent their children to private schools.